For the first time in its history, Sydney Dance Company is on tour in Paris.
In a milestone for the company, SDC performs three shows – Rafael Bonachela’s Lux Tenebris, Cheng Tsung-lung’s Full Moon and Gabrielle Nankivell’s Wildebeest – at the historic Théâtre National de Chaillot. The company then moves on to play the Movimentos Festival in Wolfsburg, Germany.
Dancer Chloe Leong is keeping a tour diary for Audrey Journal.
Paris, April 11, 2018
The cobbled pavements are wet, the sky is dark and moody and yet, there is something truely magical and romantic in the air, we are definitely in Paris.
The day after we arrived, we had a full day of rehearsals in preparation for the big week ahead and come Wednesday, it was opening night.
Nestled next to the Place de Trocadero and overlooking the Eiffel Tower, sits the Théâtre National de Chaillot. Its facade is all romanticism and grandeur. Inside it is surprising minimal, almost industrial.
Paris is an important hub for the arts and the Théâtre National de Chaillot in particular is known to be one of the most prestigious theatres in Paris for its important contribution to the history of the performing arts.
So, to be invited to perform here is a very special privilege. Compare it to walking the fashion catwalk for Chanel. It’s a pretty big deal. We were also informed prior to opening night that there would be artistic influencers and leaders in the dance community from across Europe coming to view the show. No pressure!
Faces are made, hair is done, bodies are limbered and there is a strong feeling of excitement and anticipation in the air amongst the dancers before the first curtain goes up.
Two and a half hours later, the curtain closes and the outer bodily sensation; a mixture of exhaustion and the audience’s overwhelming warm applause lingers. It has always been one of the reason why I love performing, I have never found anything outside of dancing that can replicate that feeling.
It’s safe to say that opening night was an absolute success, one that I think a lot of the dancers, myself included, will never forget.
Now to do it all again tomorrow.
Paris, April 13, 2018
Performing internationally with Sydney Dance Company is something I am really grateful for. I get a lot of people saying to me: “To perform and see the world at the same time, you’re so lucky!” And they’re absolutely correct!
However, despite what some may think, it isn’t all glamorous and it can be a lot of hard work the majority of the time. As a company of 16, we live in each other’s pockets day in, day out. And our schedule is usually so full, that when you do get a chance to breathe and enjoy the city you’re in, you’d much rather do it in the comfort of your hotel room watching trashy TV in foreign languages. Guilty!
Fortunately for me this was my third time in Paris, so I felt no pressure to cram in all the things the guide books tell you to do or see, or feel guilty for sleeping in and missing buffet breakfast. This time I felt like I was able to enjoy getting lost in the streets of Paris whilst causing some serious damage to my bank account (when in Paris, right!?).
My family were also in Paris to see the company perform, as well as some dear old friends that I had not seen for years, since living in London. So a lot of my day was spent tucked into cosy corners of bistros and bars (yes, there was a lot of eating involved) reminiscing about the past while simultaneously making new memories.
From those beautiful rooftops to the beautiful moments shared with loved ones, it really is the city of love.
Paris, April 14, 2018
As the final curtain falls, so too comes the end of our time in Paris.
There was a huge sense of elation amongst the dancers. To perform a triple bill three nights in a row is a physical and mental challenge but one that was instantaneously rewarded by the love and appreciation we received from the audiences each night.
It is an amazing thing to experience first hand the extent to which dance can be a universal language, something that anybody of any cultural background can enjoy and can connect to in their own individual way is another reason why I love performing and the arts in general.
I also must mention that I work with such an amazing group of people, those that I share the stage with and those that work tirelessly behind the scenes to make experiences like those that I have shared of my time in Paris possible.
Looking back over the past week, I can easily say that Paris is now one of my favourite cities to perform in.
From performing at the prestigious Théâtre National de Chaillot, the generosity and warmth of the audiences each night, to having the privilege of attending the Australian ambassador’s residence as an acknowledgement and thank you to Sydney Dance company.
From unbuckling my belt one too many times (thanks to my staple diet of croissants and cheese), to taking at least 100 photos of the Eiffel Tower from every angle imaginable and to sharing all these precious memories with friends and family. I’m genuinely sad to bid adieu to Paris.
I have a strong feeling that we will be back very soon … Next stop, Wolfsburg, Germany.
Follow Sydney Dance Company on tour in Europe via #SDConTour on Instagram. Watch Chloe perform in Rafael Bonachela’s latest creation ab [intra] from 14 May-1 September on its debut National Tour. Book Now.